Daniel Morea [AdventHealth]

May 31, 2023

Chaplain Searches for Meaning After Tragedy

I was working almost 2,000 miles away from my hometown when I received the news.

My hometown pastor was tragically killed in an accident. He was in the prime of his life, a godly leader, a loving father of two and a dedicated husband. All I could think of was “Why, God? Why did You let this happen?” 

I’m sure everyone has asked that question at least once or twice. We all face so much loss and suffering in our lives and it begs the question, “Why?” 

The search for meaning after a tragedy is a common way we cope. If we could just know that the losses we face will bring about some greater good or higher purpose, it would all be worth it. Without a doubt, God brings triumph out of tragedy. However, many times our pleas to understand our pain return empty. Sometimes the tragedy is nothing more than just that: a tragedy. 

Pain, agony and suffering are casualties of a long-running celestial battle that rages between a love-filled God and a hate-filled enemy. We have all been victims to Satan’s no-holds-barred tactics that destroy at any cost. However, God’s commitment to loving us fully and completely limits His ability to intervene in the ways we think an all-powerful God should. It is important to understand God is not “all powerful” in the sense that He can do anything and everything. Although He can, He has also made certain choices out of love for humanity to limit His ability to intervene. When sin entered our world, God had to find a solution within love’s rules of engagement. I can imagine Him wishing He could just banish sin far from the planet and the people He loves so much. But love’s more difficult path will bring eternal results. Jesus stepped into the path that led Him to suffer the anguish and humility of life on earth and the death on the cross. Our all-powerful God only had one path to permanently defeat the forces of evil. And that was death on the cross. Reflect on that for a moment. 

After three days of grieving, the disciples received the answer to their question: “Why, God, did You let this happen?” Jesus was resurrected and their mourning turned to joyful worship of a victorious God. But for many of us, the pain of “why” the “Why?” question lingers for weeks, months, years or decades without answer. 

I’ve found comfort and hope in these words as I consider the death of Pastor Mike. Now, I offer them to you. 

I know that one day you will stroll down the Heavenly streets of gold with Jesus’ powerful arm wrapped around your shoulder, and He will answer your deepest questions about all the losses in your life. Do you believe His answers will bring you peace? If so, is it possible, at this moment, for you to stop asking why and only trust? May God be your source of comfort, strength and faith until that day when all is made right.

Chaplain Daniel Morea ministers at UChicago Medicine AdventHealth Bolingbrook and serves as a USAF Reserve Chaplain. He graduated from the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary at Andrews University in August 2020. His wife and two daughters are the joy of his life.